Sun, 17 Jan 2021

No. 16 Virginia Tech looks to stay unbeaten vs. VMI

Field Level Media
03 Dec 2020, 07:19 GMT+10

Virginia Tech finds itself ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 poll for the first time since its run to the Sweet 16 in the 2019 NCAA Tournament.

The 16th-ranked Hokies (3-0) look to continue their good fortune on Thursday when they host the Virginia Military Institute (2-1) in Blacksburg, Va.Virginia Tech followed up its 81-73 overtime upset over then-No. 3 Villanova on Saturday with a 76-58 victory over South Florida the following day in Uncasville, Conn.

A fast start is nothing new for the Hokies, who won their first six games and 13 of 17 last season before finishing with a 16-16 record and 7-13 mark in Atlantic Coast Conference play. Virginia Tech was predicted to finish 11th in the ACC's preseason media poll.

"We're better (than last year)," said Hokies coach Mike Young, per the Richmond Times. "(Keve) Aluma's certainly helped tremendously.

"(The team is) a year older and a year stronger. (Justyn) Mutts has contributed a lot. I thought Cordell Pemsl helped our team win (on Sunday); I was very impressed with his play."

Aluma, who sat out last year after transferring from Wofford, earned ACC Player of the Week honors after averaging 18 points, five rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game last week. He had a career-high 23 points and added eight rebounds in the victory over the Wildcats.

Tyrece Radford made 9 of 12 shots for a game-high 21 points against the Bulls on Sunday. He was one of five Virginia Tech players to score in double digits, although he had just seven points on a 3-of-9 shooting performance from the field in his team's 64-55 win over VMI last season.

Hunter Cattoor, who had a then-career-high 14 points in that game versus the Keydets, posted a season-best 13 against South Florida.

Cartier Diarra, who had 10 points off the bench on Sunday, said this weekend's performance told him a lot about his team.

"It just told me that this is easy," Diarra said, per the Richmond Times. "We know what we're capable of. We know we're a really good team."

VMI showed it's pretty good in its own right by answering an 86-65 setback at Penn State on Saturday with an 84-71 win versus Longwood three days later.

Greg Parham scored 21 and 22 points, respectively, in those games to lead the Keydets. In addition to leading VMI in points per game (18.7), he also tops the club in assists (3.7) and steals (1.7).

Sean Conway added a career-high 19 points versus the Lancers, with 12 coming in the second half.

"Sean is a good player and it starts with his shooting; but I think he showed that if they play too close, he can get by and get to the rim. I thought overall he played a very good game," VMI coach Dan Earl said.

"Greg Parham has the ability to get past his guy and go north-south into the lane, and I thought he did a pretty good job of that and also made some threes."

Conway scored four points in the previous meeting with Virginia Tech. Parham was limited to four minutes and missed his only shot attempt in that game.

--Field Level Media

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